Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Good Eats Newsletter - October 21, 2009

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains
Head Lettuce; 2 lbs beets; 2 Sugar Dumpling Squash; 1 Butternut or Buttercup Squash; 2 lbs fresh Red Storage Onions; 1 Garlic; 1 bunch Mizuna; 1 bunch Lacinato Kale; 1 lb Green Tomatoes; 1 lb Green Peppers or Eggplant

Localvore Offerings Include

Elmore Mountain Country French Bread
Pete's Greens Dill Pickles
Vermont Soy Maple Ginger Baked Tofu
Champlain Orchards Liberty Apples



First Week Pick Up Results
There were a few rough spots last week as people picked up for the first time, but all in all, it went pretty well. The big take home messages from last week are:
  • Make sure you READ THE PICK UP INSTRUCTIONS when you arrive and carefully select your items. We count out the right number of each item, so it's important that when you pick up, you select just what the pick up instructions tell you to, so that the right number remains for people picking up after you.
  • LOOK THROUGH ALL TOTES, BINS, AND BOXES! Last week a few people went home without some of their items and when I checked in with sites hosts, the food was there, just in an unopened tote. As totes are emptied by members they are often left on top of full totes. Look through everything before going away empty handed.
Fall Localvore Share is Full
We have filled the share to capacity! It was a busy last couple of weeks as new sign-ups came each day in the mail. We'll probably begin Spring sign up a bit earlier so that we aren't bombarded with quite so many last minute applications! We are thrilled to have reached our target number so quickly though, thanks to all of you for being with us this share.

Pies for People
The Center for an Agricultural Economy, in collaboration with Sterling College and University of Vermont, is organizing a second Pies for People project to benefit various organizations throughout Hardwick, Craftsbury and Greensboro. Last Tuesday, October 13th, a group of Sterling College students helped folks from Pete's Greens harvest thousands of squash from seed test fields at High Mowing Seeds. Yesterday, Nick was busy in the kitchen at the farm steaming and pureeing squash and preparing to freeze the puree in 5 gallon buckets. In early to mid November, volunteers will gather in the Sterling College kitchen to make hundreds of pies and gallons of soup which will be distributed to senior homes, schools, and food shelters in the area, all based on donated ingredients and volunteer work.

The Center for an Agricultural Economy is a membership driven non-profit that works to facilitate, support and create a locally-based 21st century food system in the greater Hardwick area bringing healthy local food to every plate. The Center relies on membership to support its mission. If you would like to receive information about how to become a member or to receive seasonal newsletters from the Center for an Agricultural Economy, please email Elena Gustavson at elena@hardwickagriculture.org or phone her at (802) 472-5840.












Localvore Lore
Blair and Andrew at Elmore Mountain baked us some of their Country French bread today. This bread is made with organic winter wheat, whole wheat, and rye from Meunerie Milanaise in Quebec, plus sourdough, sea salt, and spring water. It's a great hearty, crusty loaf that remains fresh for several days. I usually place mine in a plastic bag after I get it home to preserve freshness. Great sandwich bread.

This is the second time we have put these dill pickles in the share and we had some great comments from folks who tried them last round. Nick makes the pickles on the farm. These are made in barrels, by layering the pickles with salt and herbs and letting time do the pickling. They are a tasty treat alongside a sandwich!

I was just about to place an apple order a couple weeks ago when a member emailed and asked where we got those tasty Liberty apples last Fall. Good idea, I thought... So today we have Liberty apples for you from Bill Suhr's Champlain Orchards. Though not organic, Bill selects his apple varieties for disease resistance and sprays his apples very judiciously, preferring to be satisfied with some apple imperfections in order to satisfy the greater goal of cleaner produce. Champlain Orchards description follows. "A sprightly and juicy apple with deep red skin and pale yellow flesh resembling the flavor of its parent, Macoun. Flavor increases during first two months of refrigeration. Delicious dessert apple for eating, pies, and sauce."

The tofu in the share today debuted earlier this year from the Vermont Soy Company.

Our Baked Maple Ginger Tofu is a delicious sweet and savory tofu that is ready to eat. No preparation needed, simply cut to size and enjoy! Made with the highest quality ingredients, including Vermont Maple Syrup, our Baked Artisan Tofu is delicious on salads, in sandwiches, on crackers, or tossed into your favorite stir-fry.

It's actually quite delicious plain, right out of the package as snack food. But it's also fantastic in other dishes. Vermont Soy's mission is to source non-GMO organic soybeans from farmers in Vermont for all of their products. To that end, they work collaboratively with High Mowing Seeds, the UVM Extensions Program and local farmers on seed tria


Storage and Use Tips


FRESH! Red Storage Onions - The onions in your bag today are in an awkward stage between fresh and dry onions. The skins are ugly but a quick peel will make them pink and shiny. Storage onions should be kept in a cool, dry spot, such as a cupboard or a drawer.
Green Tomatoes - Of course, these are really red tomatoes that haven't changed color yet. Green tomatoes are great to make chutneys and relishes out of, not to mention the dish that made the movie famous, Fried Green Tomatoes. You can also ripen them yourself, if you don't like green tomatoes. Store them in a box or in plastic bags with a few holes for air circulation. If you have a cool, moderately humid room, simply place them on a shelf, just keep them out of direct sunlight. They may be stored in the dark. As tomatoes ripen, they naturally release ethylene gas, which stimulates ripening. To slow ripening, sort out ripened fruits from green tomatoes each week. To speed up ripening, place green or partially ripe fruits in a bag or box with a ripe tomato.
Winter Squash - Sugar Dumplings (or Sweet Dumplings) are the small white and green round winter squash in the share today.The buttercup is the darker green squash. Butternut is the tan oblong squash. Squash store well and are easy to cook. Store them out of the sun in a dry, temperature neutral place in your home. A bookshelf works just fine. A very simple way to cook them is to cut them in half, scoop out the seeds, and place them in a baking dish in a half inch of water and cook until a fork or knife pierces them easily. Try simply stuffing with diced apple, walnuts and a pat or two of butter and drizzle of maple syrup. Yum. You'll find a more elaborate recipe in the same vein below.
Mizuna - Also known as spider mustard, mizuna is a Japanese mustard green with tender leaves and a pleasant, peppery flavor. You could substitute it, chopped, in a salad calling for arugula. It adds a nice zest to a stir-fry or saute. Store mizuna, unwashed, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.

Recipes


Stir Fried Tofu with Kale or Other Greens
This recipe, adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, uses several ingredients from this week's share (and other vegetables could be incorporated too!). You could use either the mizuna or the kale with this recipe. If using the lacinato kale, it might be good to first par boil it (place in a pot of boiling water for a couple of minutes). It will probably require a longer cooking time than the mizuna. The tofu does not need cooking, just needs to be heated through.

.75 - 1.5 lbs Tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1.5 TB vegetable oil
1 onion, halved and sliced
1-2 green peppers, cored, seeded and sliced
1 TB chopped garlic
1 TB chopped peeled fresh ginger
1/4 cup Shaoxing wine, sherry, sake, white wine, or water
1/3 c vegetable stock
2 TB soy sauce
1/2 c. chopped scallions

Put 2 TB of oil into a large skillet, over high heat. When hot add the onion and cook, stirring now and then, until it begins to soften (a couple minutes). Add the peppers and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until onions and peppers are crisp tender and a little charred on the edges, about 5 minutes. Remove the peppers and onions from thepan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add remaining oil, garlic and ginger to center of pan and cook for about 10 seconds. Then add the tofu, wine and stock, and the greens and cook stirring until half of it evaporates and the greens are wilted and tender. Then add back in the peppers and onions.

Add the tamari or soy sauce and scallion and cook, stirring, until the scallion becomes glossy, about 30 seconds. Serve immediately alongside brown rice.


Baked Winter Squash with Apples and Maple Syrup
Winter squash and apples are a lovely combination. There are lots of recipes for squash and apple bakes and soups. This one was adapted from a recipe in Bon App├ętit November 1995. Serves 6.

1.25 to 1.5 pounds winter squash peeled, quartered lengthwise, seeded, cut crosswise into 1/4 inch-thick slices (about 3 cups)
1 pound medium-size apples peeled, quartered, cored, but crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 3 cups)
3/8 cup dried currants (or dried cranberries or walnuts would be nice too)
Freshly grated nutmeg
3/8 cup pure maple syrup
1/8 cup (1/4 stick) butter, cut into pieces
1.5 sp fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook squash in large pot of boiling salted water until almost tender, about 3 minutes. Drain well. Combine squash, apples and currants in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Season generously with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Combine maple syrup, butter and lemon juice in heavy small saucepan. Whisk over low heat until butter melts. Pour syrup over squash mixture and toss to coat evenly. Bake until squash and apples are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.
Cool 5 minutes and serve.

Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with foil; chill. Rewarm covered in 350°F. oven about 30 minutes.

Fancy Fried Green Tomatoes

4 large green tomatoes
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 quart vegetable oil for frying

1. Slice tomatoes 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Discard the ends.
2. Whisk eggs and milk together in a medium-size bowl. Scoop flour onto a plate. Mix cornmeal, bread crumbs and salt and pepper on another plate. Dip tomatoes into flour to coat. Then dip the tomatoes into milk and egg mixture. Dredge in breadcrumbs to completely coat.
3. In a large skillet, pour vegetable oil (enough so that there is 1/2 inch of oil in the pan) and heat over a medium heat. Place tomatoes into the frying pan in batches of 4 or 5, depending on the size of your skillet. Do not crowd the tomatoes, they should not touch each other. When the tomatoes are browned, flip and fry them on the other side. Drain them on paper towels.

Simple Fried Green Tomatoes
Not everyone wants to go through quite as much effort to fry up tomatoes. Luckily, there's lots of latitude for creating this dish. The recipe below is much simpler. You can also substitute flour, some fine bread crumbs or even crushed corn flakes for some of the cornmeal. You can dredge on a plate, but some folks just put the breading in a bag, toss the tomato slices in and gently toss them in the bag until coated. Salting tomato slices in advance will pull some moisture out. Medium heat is best. If the heat is too high, the breading will brown too much or burn before the tomatoes inside get a chance to cook.

4 to 6 green tomatoes
salt and pepper
cornmeal
bacon grease or vegetable oil

Slice the tomatoes into 1/4 - 1/2-inch slices. Salt and pepper them to taste. Dip in meal and fry in hot grease or oil about 3 minutes or until golden on bottom. Gently turn and fry the other side. Serve as a side dish - delicious with breakfast!



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